"The real problem w nukes is proliferation"
Proliferation of nukes (or at least the proliferation of the IDEA that they may have the capability to produce one) is the only deterrent that rational smaller states have against larger, stronger ones.
Until WWII, militaries had always been designed with one goal in mind-- to win wars. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, however, militaries began to be thought of in another light-- as constructs to KEEP wars from happening in the first place. Thus the acquisitionand proliferation of nukes as a deterrent and the concept of MAD was born.
Although the west latched onto the concept of MAD, it was the smaller countries that embraced it. Now those same countries that promoted the idea of MAD are trying to reject it.
Why? Simple. It deters them from further encroachment on the lands or sphere of influence of smaller countries.
Ask those in the Ukraine if destroying their nukes 35 years ago was worth it.